Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Lauren Block

Committee Members

Maureen Morrin

Pragya Mathur

Stephen Gould

Subject Categories

Experimental Analysis of Behavior | Food Studies | Marketing


food decision making, calorie inferences, serving temperature


This research introduces the serving temperature bias, which is defined as the belief that a food or beverage served hot has more calories and is considered more fattening than the same item served cold. Six studies, including an observational field study and follow-up controlled experiments, demonstrate that people indeed hold the serving temperature bias. This belief is grounded in the conceptual associations between warm foods and beverages and consumers’ affiliative semantic associations regarding home and hearth - concepts captured by the phrase “homelike.” Specifically, hot foods and beverages are perceived to be labor of love and reminder of home (homelike) and thus hedonically pleasing. The reported studies replicate the serving temperature bias and this underlying process across a variety of consumables (e.g., sandwiches, snacks and a beverage), as well as demonstrate a downstream consequence of the serving temperature bias on actual or intended complementary purchases.

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